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Kate Daniels

  • Action Girl: Curran's Affectionate Nickname for her? Asskicker. Her earlier loner tendencies made her somewhat of a Dark Action Girl but she loses much of this by the end of Book 2.
  • Ambiguously Brown: Half Russian, half... Roland. Since his culture died out millennia ago, she's stuck with this.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Kate is recognized as the Consort of the Beast Lord, technically his equal, because she was challenged by 22 shapeshifters in less than two weeks. Wounded, tired, and hurting from Curran's coma, she still managed to slay them all. With a six-inch knife.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: With Hugh D'Ambray in Magic Rises while fighting the ochokochi. Made all the more badass because they are enemies who were raised and trained by the same man.
  • Badass Boast: At the end of the fourth book:
    "Know this: if you come to remove me, come in force, because if you to separate me from him, I will kill every single one of you. My hand won't shake. My aim won't falter. My face will be the last thing you'll see before you die."
  • Battle Couple: With Curran.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: With Curran, for the first four books. Then they get together.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family
  • Blood Magic: Kate's most powerful abilities stem from her blood, so she must take careful pains to get rid of any blood she loses in order to keep Roland from finding her. This largely goes by the wayside after Hugh D'Ambray finds her at the Midnight Games. Once that happens, she only really does it to keep the extent of her true power hidden from representatives of the People, like Ghastek.
    • In Magic Slays Kate uses her blood in a ritual to purge Lyc-V from Julie.
  • Brought Down to Normal: At the end of the series, her attempted Heroic Sacrifice plus Curran's singular miracle severs her connection to Atlanta, which immediately tones down the shar and a lot of her more troublesome powers, leaving her just an unusually strong blood mage who's really good with a sword.
  • Character Development: She begins the series as a mouthy, immature loner. As time passes, she learns to bite her tongue and apologize for her words, stops putting her ego first, and acquires a few friendships that are very important to her.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: An interesting case, considering she has no problem killing people, but yeah, as several characters have noted, she just has to save everybody, everytime.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Of the Training from Hell variety. Imposed on her by her father figure practically from birth and up until his death, when she was a teenager. Also, the issue with her bloodline.
  • Dating What Daddy Hates: Played with. It's not the person that's the issue, but his position. Being Curran's mate makes Kate co-leader of what is essentially an army of killing machines—considering the track record of her siblings, she knows Roland will see this as a threat to his power. She's right. Roland tells her that she must stop being Consort or he'll kill her.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Approaches Harry Dresden levels of snark.
  • Determinator: Make her mad enough, and she’s an almost unstoppable swordswoman. Just ask the Fomorian army she devastated.
    • Somewhat her defining character trope, In situations where a powerful enemy is trying to kill her, Kate just tries to kill it back harder. Most notably the enemy in the first book. While dying from numerous wounds and unable to stand, Kate crawls her way to Bono so she can stab him in the heart with a bone knife
  • Empathic Weapon: Kate's saber, Slayer, responds to strong emotion. Given the situations Kate gets into, most of the time, those emotions are fear, anger, rage, and hate. Slayer congeals with mist that seems to feed on necromantic energies. Most of the time, Slayer is your average magic sword. When glowing, it cuts through dead and undead alike like a hot knife through butter.
  • Heroic BSoD: She suffers one in the fifth book when she learns that her mother used magic to force her adoptive father into helping her, and that said adoptive father did not care for her as much as for his revenge against her biological father.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Not her life, just her anonymity. She uses her own blood and two words of power to destroy an incredibly powerful magical weapon, knowing her father's Warlord is watching and will know exactly who she is, because if she doesn't the rakshasas will kill her friends with it.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Sort of. In Magic Strikes, she impales herself on Roland's sword, the unblockable, incredibly lethal Scarlet Star, to save her friends.
  • Interspecies Romance: With Curran.
  • Master Swordswoman: She was trained practically from birth by a genius swordsman, and it shows.
  • Occult Detective: She isn't formally trained as one, but she's in a politically convenient enough place that she ends up getting the job. When she gets fired, she becomes a P.I.
  • Parental Substitute: First Voron, then Greg. Kate's been through a lot.
    • Later Kate is one for Julie starting in Magic Burns.
      Kate: "I make a very bad mom. I'm not home enough and even when I am, I'm not the best person to take care of a kid. But I can pull off a crazy aunt."
  • Take a Third Option: Kate's spent her life with the knowledge that it's either kill Roland or be killed by him. Actually meeting him complicates this, as she finds she's unhappy about losing him even if he's an awful person who keeps kidnapping her friends, but she eventually finds a way to permanently imprison him, allowing them both to survive and build a new relationship (at least once he forgives her for shoving him in a pocket dimension).
  • Training from Hell: The reason she's such an expert swordswoman.
  • Tyke Bomb: Voron raised her for the sole purpose of watching Roland die by his daughter's hand after Roland killed Kalina, Kate's mother and Voron's lover/brainwasher.
  • Worthy Opponent: In sword fighting, she is this to Hugh D'Ambray. Justified since they were both trained by the same man.
  • You Killed My Mother: Kate's father, Roland, killed her.

Curran Lennart

  • Asskicking Equals Authority: Curran is the Beast Lord, the Alpha of Alphas, because he is strong, fast, and lethal enough to utterly destroy them. He won his position by single-handedly taking down a rampaging were-bear that weighed in over 2000 pounds and had killed several dozen people. At age 15.
  • Badass in Charge: By book 6, Curran is the leader of more than 1500 shapeshifters, making his pack one of the two most powerful packs in North America. He stays in charge by being smart and willing to kill anyone he has to to keep his people safe.
  • Battle Couple: With Kate.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: With Kate, for the first four books. Then they get together.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Definitely has tendencies this way. He doesn't like it when other guys get too close to Kate. In particular, he disapproves of her being around Saiman.
  • Dark and Troubled Past
  • Determinator: If something happens to Kate, there’s nothing he can’t or won’t do. He doesn’t stop until she’s safe and with him again.
    Kate: "One time I was dying in a cage inside a palace that was flying over a magic jungle. And some idiot went in there, chased the palace down, fought his way through hundreds of rakshasas, and rescued me."
  • Glowing Eyes: Doubles with Glowing Eyes of Doom when he's pissed. Otherwise, it means that he's just experiencing strong emotions. With Kate, it's a 50/50 split between lust and rage, depending on what she said to him last.
  • Interspecies Romance: With Kate.
  • Parental Substitute: Mahon is this to Curran, having raised him after finding him lost in the woods after Curran's family was killed by loups.
  • Take a Third Option: In Magic Breaks, Roland tells Kate that she must leave Curran or die. Curran decides to step down as Alpha, because Roland's whole issue with the relationship is that Kate is in a position of power. It works.

Andrea Nash

  • Backstabbing the Alpha Bitch: Andrea initially wants to do this to Aunt B as Aunt B leads the Bouda clan and is increasingly overt in her attempts to get Andrea to join the fold. Andrea eventually agrees to be Aunt B's beta female so that she can eventually do this. She largely gets over it after seeing what Aunt B. goes through as the Alpha and it is forgotten completely when Aunt B dies giving the shapeshifters time to get away from Hugh D'Ambray and his Iron Dogs.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Andrea is a beast-kin, which means that one of her parents was an animal who could shift into a human. Among the shapeshifters of the Pack, at best she is an intolerable nuisance, at worst she is an abomination to be killed on sight. This eventually gets better, but for the first few of her appearances, she took great pains to hide this fact from everyone, including Kate. Eventually, she learns to be somewhat comfortable in her own skin, though she loathes her hybrid form at first.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Along with being so personable and charming it hurts, this is Andrea's hat. Kate claims she can shoot the dots off dominos at great distance.
  • The Gunslinger

Jim Shrapshire

  • Clipboard of Authority: During the Midnight Games, where Jim served as Stratego for the rest of the team.
  • Cloak & Dagger: Sometimes, literally.
  • The Handler: For Curran, when he began courting Kate.
  • Number Two: To Curran and the Pack
  • Scary Black Man: And sometimes a scary jaguar.
  • Stealth Expert: Most were-cats are this, but Jim takes it to another level, described as simply melting out from a shadow.
  • The Spymaster: Jim is nominally the Head of Security for the Pack, but employs people like Derek as covert agents and maintains trackers, renders, and cleaning crews.

Raphael Medrano

  • Anything That Moves: This is typical of Bouda males, but Raphael takes it a step further by being interested in Andrea. Andrea is "beast-kin", the product of a shapeshifter and an animal who could shift into a human, and is treated with the same care and attachment one would reserve for nuclear waste. Raphael finds her endlessly sexy.
  • Ladykiller in Love: As a bouda, he was very sexually promiscuous. But then he fell in love with Andrea...
  • The Fighting Narcissist: He’s sexy and he knows it.

Derek Gaunt

  • Break the Cutie: His whole childhood, but especially in Magic Strikes...
  • Pretty Boy: Is this for the first few books. After Magic Strikes, not so much.

     Members of The Pack 

Beatrice "Aunt B." Medrano

Dr. Doolittle

  • Doctor's Orders: Doolittle takes a very dim view of many of the main characters' ability to take care of themselves, given their propensity for injury and how hard he has to work just keeping them alive. He insists that they stop and respect their bodies and their injuries and sighs wearily when he realizes that he will be patently ignored in the interest of The Greater Good.
  • Mercy Killing: As a member of The Pack and a doctor, he knows all too well the consequences of loupism. As a result, he tends to favor this in any situation where the alternative is, in his eyes, prolonged suffering.
  • Super Doc: Given how many times he's brought just Kate back from the brink of death, you'd be forgiven for thinking this of him. He jokes that the next conference he attends, he's bringing Kate with him as a living demonstration of his superior skills.
  • The Medic
  • Team Dad

Barabas

  • Anime Hair: His flaming red hair sticks straight up.
  • Badass Gay
  • Florence Nightingale Effect: He takes care of Christopher after they rescued him. However, deconstructed as this is actually a source of conflict for them: he's later afraid that since he was Christopher's main support while Christopher was vulnerable, that's an undue influence and it would be taking advantage to begin a relationship.
  • Will They or Won't They?: With Christopher. They Do.

Jezebel

  • Becoming the Mask: She's a former sahanu, one of Roland's blood-cultist-warriors, who was pulled out of training and implanted in the Pack as a child. But she grew to truly love Julie when Kate charged her with protecting the kid, to the point that Roland has to threaten Julie to get her to follow his orders.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper

Ascanio Ferara

  • Anything That Moves: Ascanio is a Bouda, so this is par for the course. He was introduced by being arrested for having a threesome with two female police officers in a morgue.
  • Determinator: During the fight with Leslie Wren, the renegade were-lynx render, Ascanio gets clawed to hell and has both legs broken. He still manages to get up, run, and carry a Lyc-V-infected Julie into the loup cage.
  • Pretty Boy: Described as having the beauty of a fallen angel. At fifteen.
  • Skilled, but Naïve: Ordinarily, a shapeshifter has to work hard to even begin to develop a warrior form. It takes even more practice and skill to use it effectively, and being able to talk coherently in a warrior form is an art form. Ascanio can do all 3 at age 15. Naturally, his talent makes him feel like he is the biggest, baddest thing going. Derek shows him otherwise, giving his warrior form a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown while still human.

Dali Harimau

  • A-Cup Angst
  • Blind Without 'Em: Needs her glasses.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Even Kate is scared of her driving. If she didn't have shapeshifter healing powers, she would almost certainly have died in one of her many crashes. It's not surprising she's so bad, though, seeing as her eye sight is terrible.

Mahon Delany

  • Bears Are Bad News: Mahon is a were-bear and is known as the "Kodiak of Atlanta". He's also the Pack's executioner.
  • Fantastic Racism: Inverted. Mahon maintains that even the lowliest shapeshifter is more of a match for Curran than Kate is. He was born before the first Shift and had more than his share of Humans Are the Real Monsters moments, which colors his judgement of ordinary humanity. Kate eventually causes him to come around by her toughness, her skill, and her dedication to the Pack's welfare.
    • He also believes werebears should only marry other werebears. He gets over it, though, after George chews him out for it.
  • Like a Son to Me: Found Curran in the woods after Curran's family was killed by loups. Mahon raised him like a son and instilled in Curran the strength and values that made him the leader that he is among the Pack.
    Mahon: "Besides, I have a son; I just wasn't his first father, is all."

Georgetta "George" Delany

  • Berserk Button: Don't call her by her first name, whatever you do.
  • Dating What Daddy Hates: Mahon does not approve of her dating Eduardo the werebuffalo. She essentially makes him approve by refusing to budge on the issue.
  • Handicapped Badass: Ends up with only one arm. Doesn't stop her from being a badass even when she isn't a gigantic bear.

Jennifer

  • Mama Bear: She knows she's not the best alpha, but she refuses to step down because she wants her daughter to grow up as the alpha's child.
  • Manipulative Bitch: Has some skill in convincing men with issues that they're her hero and getting them to do things for her.
  • The Mole: To Hugh. She also agreed to help him kidnap Kate, but backed out at the last minute.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: In her early appearances, she didn't like Kate, but she could at least contain herself and be professional. By Magic Breaks, however, she's deliberately trying to subvert Kate's authority, as well as flinging horrible insults at members of her Clan ("creature") and publicly chewing them out—which is doubly cruel and terrible leadership, as an alpha publicly chastising someone means the whole clan feels like being nice to that person is disobedient. So she essentially forced her pack to shun this person. Oh, and she's a traitor.
  • You Killed My Sister: Hates Kate because of this, even though her sister went loup and had to be put down. Part of the problem is that Jennifer, as her closest family member, should have done it—she resents Kate both for taking her little sister away and for making her look weak.

Daniel

Eduardo

  • The Big Guy: A massive werebuffalo
  • Distressed Dude: The plot of Magic Shifts revolves around rescuing him from a pissed-off ifrit.

Keira

Desandra

  • Abusive Parents: Her father. When she was twelve, he cut out her tongue, and that's not even the worst thing he did.
  • Backstabbing the Alpha Bitch: Plans to do this to Jennifer, but is biding her time and solidifying her power base, while giving her rival enough rope to hang herself with, so that everyone will be grateful when she finally does take over.
  • Mama Bear: In Magic Breaks she wants to replace Jennifer as Alpha of the Clan Wolf to protect her llamasu son.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Plays the spoiled, shallow idiot to survive her abusive father.
  • Pregnant Badass: Very briefly. She goes into labor immediately after killing her father.
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     Members of The People 

Ghastek Slopvan

  • Freudian Excuse: He's power-hungry because he came from a poor background and was bullied by the other kids at the school he went to on scholarship. He vowed he'd show them all.
  • Heel–Face Turn: He slowly becomes friends with Kate and chooses to become her Legatus.
  • Squishy Wizard: Give him a vampire to navigate, and he'll take you apart, but in person he's weak.

Rowena

Nataraja

     Additional Characters 

Saiman

  • Divine Parentage: Saiman is part-human, part-Aesir (Norse god), and part-Jotun (Norse giant/demon). Possibly the grandson of Loki himself. When he's in pain or afraid, his Jotun heritage is dominant. During the magic flare, we see his Aesir form. Most of the time, Kate sees him as a human of fairly nondescript features.
  • Every Woman Has Her Price: Saiman and Kate get into a philosophical argument where he espouses the belief that, given time and the precisely the right form and/or incentive, he can sleep with anyone, Kate included. Kate tells him that sex is about more than just physical attraction and while Saiman would have no problem finding a form that she'd be attracted to instantly, the fact that he is emotionally distasteful to her will always prohibit her from giving into him. Doesn't discourage Saiman a bit.
  • Insistent Terminology: He is a sexual deviant, not a pervert.
  • Windows of the Soul: Saiman can't understand how Kate always seems to know when he's approached her in a different form. Kate says that it's his eyes and, more importantly, the condescension and disdain he feels for others that shows in them that gives him away every time.

Julie

  • Little Miss Badass: She grew up pretty rough, and Kate trains her in combat to keep her safe.
  • The Mole: When Roland starts attempting to groom her as a replacement Warlord, she knows immediately what he's doing...but lets him think it's working so she can feed Kate information.
  • Tagalong Kid: For Kate starting in Magic Burns

Greg Feldman, Knight-Diviner of the Order of Merciful Aid

Voron

  • Brainwashed and Crazy: He would never have betrayed Roland if Kalina hadn't fried his brain with a love spell.
  • The Dragon: He was Roland's warlord, called the Death's Raven.
  • Morton's Fork: Kate figures out that this was his plan by training her to fight Roland. If Kate won, Roland would be dead. If Kate lost, Roland would be heartbroken over having to kill yet another child of his, especially since she's Kalina's daughter. Either way, Voron would hurt him.

Mark

Maxine

Ted Moynohan

Nick

  • The Mole: He went underground as one of Hugh D'Ambray's lieutenants for the Knights.

Rene of the Red Guard

  • Poisoned Weapons: Carries a rapier coated in sickly green material. Kate suspects it's a Magic Sword and that, in order for it to be effective against the overwhelming strength and speed of the things she comes into contact with, Rene must possess preternatural speed and reflexes.

Roman

  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: His father is the Black Volhv, the high priest of the most evil Russian god. His mother is a Witch Oracle, who has her own thing going on. Odd Couple doesn't even BEGIN to describe them. His uncle is the White Volhv, the high priest of the most good Russian god. His cousins are also involved. It's no wonder Roman tends to shy away from anything that gets him in the middle of them all. For Roman's family, magic is just part of the Family Business.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Yes, Roman is a volhv of Chernobog, the most evil Russian god. Yes, he has a beaked staff with a bad attitude, and yes, he can throw down powerful curses and spells with the darkest of lords... But that doesn't mean he's not a nice guy. Outside of the interests of his priesthood, Roman is gentle, funny, kind, helpful, and is seen by many of the main characters to be a genuinely good and dependable person. They tend not to pry too deep into his day job.
  • Ranger: Roman reveals an Army Ranger tattoo, along with an impressively muscular build for a priest, when putting on tactical gear at Andrea's request in Gunmetal Magic.
  • Southern Gentleman: Roman gives off this vibe to Andrea in Gunmetal Magic when he flirtatiously insists on accompanying her home after helping her recover an item important to her investigation and finding that her ride has been jacked and put on blocks.

Evdokia

  • Heroes Want Redheads: Invoked. She dyed her hair red to make Voron notice her back when she was a young woman.
  • Oracle: One of the three Witch Oracles.

Bran

Grendel

  • Attack Animal: Grendel is Kate’s “Attack Poodle.” He also just so happens to turn into a Hellhound.
    “My attack poodle turned into a huge black hound with glowing eyes and shaggy fur. Figures.”

Adam Kamen

Kalina

  • Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: Stabbed Roland in the eyeball. Unfortunately, a puny knife doesn't do much to a guy like him... (Of course, actually hurting him wasn't the point. Giving him a very visible reason to kill her was the point, so he could make his show of strength that way, instead of immediately tracking down Voron and Kate.)
  • Dark Mistress: She was married to the Builder of Towers.
  • Dying Declaration of Love: Interesting variation, in that she said it to the man who killed her.
  • Glamour: Kalina could make almost anyone do anything she wanted. In fact, she was so good at this that she magically overrode Voron's loyalty to Roland, when previously Voron practically worshipped him as a god.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: For Kate.
  • I Love You Because I Can't Control You: Kate speculates that Kalina was first attracted to Roland because her mind control abilities didn't work on him.
  • Mama Bear: She gave up everything so her daughter would live.
  • Meet Cute: She and Roland had this.
  • Posthumous Character: She was killed by Roland shortly after Kate was born.

Elara Harper, the White Lady, aka the White Warlock

  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: With Hugh, after their Marriage of Convenience commences.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: While her full past has not yet been revealed, becoming the White Lady (or Warlock, for those who hate her), was clearly very traumatic, and she was orphaned before that.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Whatever it is she's connected to, it's this.
  • Establishing Character Moment: When first the reader meets her, she devours the spark of magic inside a vampire at melee range, then gently extricates a spider that got caught in her hair and sets it free, showing that she is deadly and brutal in defense of her people, but does not do unnecessary harm.
  • Horror Hunger: She eats magic, and is always hungry.
  • Mystical White Hair: Pure white and won't take dye, although she can draw darker eyebrows on. Also counts as Locked into Strangeness, as she used to have brown hair before whatever happened to her caused her to become whatever she is.
  • Stop Worshipping Me: Her people view her as almost a goddess, but she expressly forbids them to pray to her or worship her in any way. It's implied that this doesn't just make her unhappy, but is actively dangerous for some reason.
  • Woman in White: She is the White Lady.

Christopher Steed

A gentle, mysterious man Kate rescues from a cage in Magic Rises. His mind was broken by an unknown event, but he makes amazingly effective panacea (a potion which prevents loupism).

  • Amnesiac Dissonance: Christopher now is sweet, if almost completely out of it at all times, and wouldn't hurt a fly. Christopher pre-cage was Roland's Legatus, which is not a position you get by being a nice person, to put it lightly.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: The reason he wants to stay with Kate (and also Barrabas, who he initially mistakes for an angel). They rescue him and treat him well. Also one of the reasons he's so willing to forgive Hugh (the other being that he used to be as bad as Hugh)—he points out he was remarkably healthy for someone who'd been stuck in a cage outdoors for a month, and it's because Hugh kept sneaking him food.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: The reason he was in the cage? Roland wanted to give him the powers of a god by implanting him with a minor, personality-less deity. Christopher said no...and woke up on the operation table with Deimos, the Greek god of terror, inside him anyway. He turned his new fear powers inward and broke his own mind so Roland couldn't use him.
  • Winged Humanoid: As it turns out yes, he really can fly, when he summons his wings.

     Villains 

The Upir, aka Bono

The Fomor

Cesare

Mart

Erra (short for Eahrratim), aka the City Eater, aka the Rose of the Tigris

  • Axe-Crazy: Not that she started out that way. Or ends that way.
  • Back from the Dead: Ish. She's incorporeal and "lives" in a dagger made of her own bone, but she's still pretty strong.
    • Then for real at the end of the series, after getting sideswiped by a miracle.
  • Batman Gambit: In the last book she knows darn well her brother will do something stupid for his own ends, and Kate will probably pull a Heroic Sacrifice in response. So she plots with Curran to turn him into a minor god just strong enough to bring a person back from the dead, while still letting Kate take care of Roland.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: She is Kate's aunt.
  • Blood Magic: But of course. She's really good at the blood armor, and does it more than almost anyone else in her family.
  • Death Seeker: According to Roland, she was this. She didn't want to wake up, and hated the modern age.
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul": After Kate summons her ghost, she says she actually doesn't like being called the City Eater.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: She may be the sort of brutal conqueror who inspires nicknames like "the City Eater", but she despises Roland for the fact he hasn't properly educated Kate on her magic. Sure, they might have to kill each other someday, but it's his duty as a father and a Prince of Shinar to teach his children and keep them from hurting themselves and the land.
  • Heel–Face Turn: After being summoned back from the dead, she is a much nicer person. To Kate, anyway.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: The City Eater. Sounds like a charmer!
  • Suicide by Cop: Roland tells Kate that they were raised to believe suicide was wrong, but that it was honorable to die at the hand of a family member. So she threw herself at Kate and let herself lose.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Before she was her brother's general, she was the Rose of the Tigris. She'd much rather have started a family, but their country needed a brutal warrior, so that's what she became.

The Lighthouse Keepers

Shane Andersen, Lighthouse Keeper and member of The Order

  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Fancies himself more intelligent than he actually is. It is the pretentious phrasing of his words that tips off Kate and Andrea that he is a Lighthouse Keeper and in control of Adam Kamen's magic bomb.

Hugh D'Ambray, aka Lord Megobari of Abkhazia, Preceptor of the Order of Iron Dogs

  • A Father to His Men: The Iron Dogs are extremely loyal to him for this reason. To him. Not Roland. When Roland kicks Hugh out, he also sets Landon Nez on the Dogs for this reason.
  • Ascended Extra: Is now the main character of his own two-book spinoff series, the Iron Covenant.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: With Kate in Magic Rises while fighting the ochokochi. Made all the more badass because they are enemies who were raised and trained by the same man.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Before Roland took him in, he was a homeless orphan protected from being trafficked by a Fagin-like figure only by the fact exploiting his healing powers brought in more profit.
  • First-Episode Spoiler: It's impossible to get into Hugh's own series without being spoiled for the fact that Roland casts him aside, or basically anything else that happens in the second-to-last book in the main series.
  • Heel–Face Turn: No, really. After Roland casting him aside and the events of the first book in his own trilogy, Hugh both rejects Roland's offer to rejoin him and decides to support Kate when things come to a head. Which he does.
  • Hidden Depths: He's an extremely competent healer, meaning he has essentially the magic equivalent of a medical degree. Because he spends most of his time slicing people up, though, it's easy for everyone else to forget this.
  • Magnificent Bastard
  • Marriage of Convenience: He ends up needing to marry a powerful witch named Elara Harper at the start of Iron and Magic because each has resources the other urgently needs.
  • Master Swordsman: As Voron's protege, he's just as good as Kate. (Well, almost, anyway.)
  • The Dragon: to Roland. He's Voron's replacement, trained by Voron himself. Also his killer.
  • Worthy Opponent: In sword fighting, he is this to Kate. Justified since they were both trained by the same man.

Roland, aka The Builder of Towers

  • Above Good and Evil: He believes himself to be this.
  • Abusive Parents: When he's not mind-controlling his adoptive son (Hugh), he's playing deadly games with his biological daughter's loved ones and trying to decide whether he needs to kill her. (He does love both of them, but he's also a bit of a narcissistic control freak who does not respond well when people don't do as he says.)
  • Affably Evil ...he even bakes cookies for Kate and Curran when they go house hunting to explore their new post-Beast Lord and Consort lives. And seems tickled pink by the possibility of grandkids. Despite this, he remains an extremely frightening god level control freak despot.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: And how. His mother murdered his father, his sister is Erra the City Eater, and his children have a nasty tendency to go mad with power and try to take his place. Which is why he had to kill most of them.
  • Blood Magic: His and his family's calling card. He can make blood wards, blood blades, and blood armor, and that's the tame stuff.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Reliably unreliable.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: He'll do a lot of things, but human sacrifice isn't one of them—not so much because killing people is wrong, but because it would attract attention from things, which he won't unleash on the world for any amount of power.
  • Evil Parents Want Good Kids: He really did want all of his children to grow up to be nice people. Unfortunately, being raised by a ruthless wizard-king isn't exactly good for a child's personality, even if he's trying really hard.
  • Offing the Offspring: What he did to most if not all of his children, and what Kate fears he will do to her as well. Although he has a reason—Kate is the only relative of his who hasn't gone Ax-Crazy and tried to either destroy or rule the world. And he really has no reason to believe she won't do the same, given his reference pool.
  • The Ghost: Has yet to appear in any of the books.
    • In Magic Breaks, he finally appears near the end.
  • Love Makes You Stupid: The reason he got Kalina pregnant. He knew full well how his children always turn out, but he just couldn't say no to her.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: His ultimate fate is to be tricked into merging with a pocket dimension—that makes him literally part of it, which prevents him from leaving.
  • Walking Spoiler: Could you tell?
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: According to Erra, he and his family started out defending their homeland, liberating it from conquerors...and then just never stopped the war machine. These days he really does think his rule would be best for the world, and it doesn't matter what he does to get there, because once he does everything will perfect. As long as people obey.
  • Why Did You Make Me Hit You?: His attitude towards the entire world, basically. For example, he wouldn't have to have crucified all those unarmed civilians, if only the Iron Dogs had followed his orders and slaughtered them quickly. Such a tragedy, but you do what you have to, right? Kate calls him out on this, saying it was his choice to crucify anybody at all, but he seems actually incapable of getting the point.
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